How I came to know 5 Shot Leather:

I am sure you have heard me mention the 5 Shot Leather IWB holsters before.  When I started carrying on a daily basis, I quickly realized the importance of a good holster. My carry piece at that point was a 4 inch Kimber Pro CDPII .45 1911. I blamed the all the discomfort I was experiencing on the big gun and the inside the waistband carry method; completely unaware that it was actually the cheap $40 holster I got at Sportsman’s Warehouse that was causing the discomfort.

My husband informed me that he worked with a guy name John Ralston who made leather holsters in his garage and suggested that I meet with him to try to find a solution to the discomfort. I will be honest; I was a little reluctant to do this, because at that time I believed the pain was being caused from everything but the holster. In the end I decided to keep an open mind and have a chat with Mr. Ralston.

After meeting with John Ralston and expressing my concerns, John handed me one of his personal holsters (that fit my Kimber) and told me to try it out for a week. It only took a few hours to fall in love with Ralston’s handy work.  The design and cant of the holster made a world of difference. That was when I realized that inside the waistband carry can actually by very comfortable. In fact, I think it’s even more comfortable than outside the waistband carry.  After my trial week, I came back to John and put in an order. The coolest part was that when I showed him where exactly I was wearing the holster, he customized the cant to fit nice and snug up against my body, making the gun sit in the just right place in my curves.

When I decided to start carrying the Springfield XD and XD(m)s, the first thing I did was put in an order with 5 Shot Leather.  Again, I was blown away by the comfort and conceal-ability of John’s work.

My thoughts on the design:

John Ralston designs his holsters stiff. They do not collapse, so holstering with one hand is very easy.   I don’t like, nor do I allow collapsible holsters in my classes because I am not fond of having to put my fingers in front of the muzzle to hold the holster open.  I have also seen the floppy fabric of these holsters get caught on the trigger as people holster their guns.  I consider these to be unnecessary risks that can easily be avoided by purchasing a stiffer product.

There is plenty of retention. I have danced, ridden (and crashed) my quad , and even practiced some of my martial arts moves while wearing the 5 Shot Leather holster. Not once has my gun fallen out.  Of course, I have also done the test where I put the gun in the holster and shake it upside down. Once again,  the gun stayed secure inside the holster.

The IWBs that I order from 5 Shot Leather are a scabbard design. What I like about the scabbard is that it is a simple design.  It allows for quick and easy access to one’s gun. While the simplicity of it also makes it easier for an unauthorized person to access that gun; it shouldn’t be an issue if the carrier is practicing complete concealment (which is easy with this holster).  If an unauthorized person does not know that someone is carrying a gun to begin with, he cannot try to take it.

A design element that I really appreciate is that the belt loops on the scabbard holsters are sewn shut.  Many IWB holsters are designed with snaps on the belt loops for easy on and off. What I don’t like about the snaps is that they tend to cause a pivot point for the loop, making the holster slide around on the belt and sometimes repositioning the cant.  Keeping the loops stiff and sewn together holds the holster firmly in place, keeping the cant secure. I have noticed the holster still slides a tiny bit (when not on a good gun belt), but overall it’s fairly stable.

I am also a fan of the low profile magazine and light pouches. Heck, John even made me a custom holster for my ASP Baton.  The only thing that would make me happier is if he also offered inside the waistband magazine pouches.

How I use it:

 As many of you know, I carry larger framed handguns (usually in the 4inch barrel range), so concealment and comfort are struggles that I know all about. I have been concealing comfortably in 5 Shot Leather holsters for EDC for the past four years and intend to continue to do so. I even wear these holsters with my skinny jeans. The quality and craftsmanship have held up beautifully and honestly, my holsters still look new.

 I sometimes compete using my holsters and mag pouches from 5 Shot, and have no complaints there. All the pieces in my collection allow for a smooth, easy draw of the gun as well as magazines, flashlights, etc.  I’ve even had a few inquiries from other competitors as to where I got my pretty leather gear.

Quading is another time I turn to my 5 Shot holster.  I have found it to be more comfortable than most outside the waistband holsters when I’m maneuvering.  Plus I don’t like having outside the waistband gear hanging off of my body and catching in brush as I throw my body off the side of the bike to do cookies and whatnot.

I mentioned before that I have danced while wearing a 5 Shot holster. I have successfully concealed a full-sized handgun while line dancing, Irish dancing, and even dancing at a club; thanks to John Ralston’s handy-work  (Please note: I always refrain from consuming alcohol when carrying, in all the instances mentioned above I was the designated driver).

In the video below, you will see how I use the 5 Shot Leather holster for concealment in a dress.

Overall, I think that 5 Shot Leather has a great product for those who like to carry behind the hip and inside the waist band. His prices start at $105, which isn’t terrible considering it’s a custom piece made to order. For these same reasons, and because he seems to be in high demand, there are varying wait times. I have been dealing with John Ralston for about four years now and I can honestly tell you that I have found his work to be well worth the price and the wait.